New Young Women Leaders Express Gratitude, Hopes
Contributed By By Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Sister Carol F. McConkie, and Sister Neill F. Marriott, Young Women general presidency
An important event held each year for the young women in every ward of the Church is called New Beginnings. We, as a newly called Young Women general presidency, have been enjoying our own personal “new beginning” this past month after we were sustained in April general conference.
We are grateful for the marvelous outpouring of support and love we have felt from members around the world. What a great honor and privilege it is for us to be called to serve the young women of the Church in these exciting times. With the recent announcement of the lowered age for young missionaries, the worldwide introduction of the new Come, Follow Me youth curriculum, and the emphasis on the youth being involved in doing family history research, we feel blessed to be a part of this hastening of the Lord’s work (see D&C 88:73).
There is much for us, and all those involved, to do in helping our youth become more converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a blessing and challenge for which we are very grateful. We, as a presidency, would each like to express our feelings and hopes as we embark on this “new beginning.”
During the past month I have had the opportunity to visit with young women both in Church classrooms and in many other settings. I have seen and felt firsthand how valiant the young women of the Church are and how much they desire to follow the words of our living prophets and be true disciples of Jesus Christ. Our youth are attending the temple, doing family history, and taking leadership and teaching roles in their quorums and classes.
Even though they face challenges, temptations, and situations that no other youth in the history of the world have had to face, they are standing firm in their commitment to be different from the world.
Those of us who have the opportunity to teach, love, and mentor these youth need to seek guidance and inspiration from a loving Heavenly Father as never before in order to help shepherd them to the pathway that leads to the temple and eventually back to His presence. I am grateful for the privilege of working together with inspired priesthood and Young Women leaders throughout the world in this great work and pray that we may all seek and receive divine guidance as we fulfill our callings. With the Lord’s help, miracles will happen and lives will be blessed.
What a sacred privilege it is to help our precious young women along the covenant path that leads to the Lord and His holy house! For me, every day in Young Women is a “new beginning.” When each young woman understands that she is a spirit daughter of Heavenly parents with a divine nature and eternal destiny, she feels a new sense of identity.
We see her confidence grow when she believes that God knows her and loves her individually, that He understands her heart, and that He hears and answers her prayers. We rejoice when she believes He has provided a Savior for her, through whom she receives the assurance of immortality and the promise of eternal life.
We witness her peace and assurance when she recognizes and follows the promptings of the Holy Ghost to teach her truth, to comfort, to guide and protect her as she walks the strait and narrow path. I am so grateful for parents, leaders, and faithful priesthood leaders who teach and testify of precious gospel doctrines and who exemplify the joy of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Together we strengthen young women so that they may stand in holy places and shine the Light of Christ to the world.
My “new beginning” in the Young Women general presidency reminds me of my first Young Women camp experience. I was seated in a canoe filled to the brim with lively Mia Maids. We paddled our overloaded boat toward another, which held only three Laurels. In an effort to lighten our canoe, I decided to jump in with the Laurels and eagerly stepped onto the edge of our canoe. Eight screaming Mia Maids and one amazed adviser hit the lake water. Bobbing, laughing, and hanging onto the canoe, we supported and loved each other. So it is with my new calling, for I’ve stepped into a “lake” of opportunity and joy, filled with young women who are beloved daughters of Heavenly Father. The great, even holy, responsibility of Young Women leaders around the world is to teach faith in Jesus Christ and help young women be worthy to make sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple. May we carry with us the truth and love of the Savior’s Atonement wherever we go, whenever we testify, and in whatever we do, that the young women may feel the workings of the Holy Ghost in their lives and steadily, joyfully live the gospel.
Immersing ourselves and our young women in the doctrines of the gospel can be even more thrilling than flipping out of a canoe and into a lake!